In most marriages the honeymoon period has a shelf life. But does that mean you can't bring back those fluttery butterfly feelings of excitement and anticipation at the beginning of a relationship everybody experiences? Definitely not. Maneuvering all relationships through difficult patches. Some don't live long enough for the other side to come out unscathed. Yet many of them do. Here are 11 ways to keep the wedding fresh.
Remind your partner you value them (and Yourself)
After you've been married for many, many years, that passionate kiss can easily morph into a peck on the check when your partner walks in the door, which may then morph into an inability even to look up from your computer. Throughout my 23-year marriage, there are times when I felt my own husband and I started to get so familiar with each other that we settled into a stultifying, though comfortable, routine. But inside that there is a real risk. Statistics show that almost half of people who cheated say it was due to emotional frustration not sex. And friends, the reverse also functions. Woody Allen argued in his film "Annie Hall" that "the relationship is like a shark. It needs to be going forward continuously or it dies. "I think he was right.
Say thank you for those little stuff
I was guilty of holding the score, always measuring who did what. "I've cleaned the children's closets, now you've got to clean the basement." "I moved to your work when we first got married, so now you've got to move to mine." "I started sex last time, so now it's your turn." But playing tit for tat is childish and just chip away from the confidence and bond you've established with your wife. Keep note of all the good stuff your partner does in a day if you're so inclined and then thank them. Hopefully they are going to get the message and do the same to you.
And when you're embarrassed, practice integrity.
If you have a credit card or two maxed out and you find yourself hiding the bills every month, you can bet it will come back to bite you. Eventually, whether you're applying for a home loan or just worrying about the summer holiday bills, a credit report or the mere fact that you can't afford a trip away would always bring all kinds of money issues to the fore. While infidelity usually occurs in bed, it can occur with money, too. And if you've lied about overspending, it'll be a tough road to recover the confidence your spouse has.
In the same line, if you feel you 're not communicating the way you used to with your partner, you need to say something now. This lesson I learned the hard way. Once upon a time, I let communication issues fester for months, failing to verbalize my displeasure, and for almost a year, my husband and I wound up in marriage counseling. It took a third party and for us to make a real investment to get us back on track. If I hadn't kept thinking to myself that things should be getting better on their own, we would not have hit what I call the danger zone.
Hold your looks in mind.
With many years under your belt, and a few kids, letting your appearance slide is easy. Think of the first time you met your partner. Would you have been wandering around in dirty sweatpants and without the teeth being brushed? My supposition is no. I'm not suggesting that every time you settle down for a TV night, you have to look like Julianne Moore! But I've seen too many couples turn themselves into Dan and Roseanne Connor from Cliff and Clair Huxtable with devastating consequences.
My husband will sometimes say "wow, you look good," as I walk out the door for a girls' night out. At least pay the same courtesy to your partner by fixing up for him or her every once in a while, you do your buddies.
Foster partnerships outside of wedlock.
I went on girls' journeys for as long as I was married; a man narrated Yeah, I love to traip my spouse and three children off. But it is also important to have those weekends away with friends. Swapping stories with others and enjoying new experiences make me hopefully a more interesting person to be around for my spouse. When Katie Couric asked Barbra Streisand the key to James Brolin 's happy 14-year marriage, she answered "time apart." "It gets romantic and even the phone calls get more romantic. You need some distance,' said Streisand.
Your marriage is meant to be your main relationship but not the only one.
Control what you say.
There are many things that you should never tell a longtime spouse, the first being: "Do you not think our new neighbor is attractive? "You just think you want to know the answer to that question. Also, it's never a good idea to start a sentence with: "You know it's always been your problem that ..." Who wants their partner to hear that? Hopefully at this stage we all have a pretty strong sense of ourselves and getting someone you love pointing out a weakness in this way does nothing to bring about a better relationship.
"You do think ..." or "You never think ..." None of those are true. If you start a phrase with these words your mate will be sure to shut down or start a war. Stop for a minute and think about what you want to tell and then then tell it.
Put the jumper cables away.
There are big things in life and there are small things in there. The major things draining the bank accounts to sustain a gambling habit, failing to note that he is living under a false identity in the federal witness relocation system or finding a second family stashed in Queens are of course one-way streets to divorce court. Yet most of us do not have this amount of problems. Most of us have issues that are more like petty and repetitive annoyances that ballon up like Arnold Schwarzenegger when fed the steroids of frustration and rage. And we all know what the steroids were doing to his back, no?
Most of our problems start small enough he borrows from your car the jumper cables and then leaves them sitting on the driveway just waiting to run over and from that a giant festering sore sprouts.
It leads you to utter words like, "If you loved me you would have put the jumper cables back in my car so I could save myself
when I get stuck in a bad neighborhood with a dead battery," which generally results in an answer like, "When do you ever drive in bad neighborhoods?
"It's the tiny annoyances that
do us in when left unaddressed.
Address them straight away for a
happier marriage and keep it simple.Honey, have you put jumper cables back into my car?
Sometimes the best way to tackle a problem is to just walk away as in letting it go seriously. Not every small need to be tackled. Know that not all threats are intended. Practise to let go as soon as you can. Perdon more. Forget one more thing. Bite your tongue before bleeding to the tip. And remind yourself from time to time why you married this guy. Concentrate on those reasons and let things pass without notice.
However, the secret to effective silence is that you let the question really pass. If you stay silent and still harbor bad thoughts, well, this is from where ulcers come. As the Beatles once written, "Let It Be."
Acknowledge the ebb-and-flow.
Relationships aren't flat-lined; simply, this is death. Life is full of ups and downs, peaks and valleys. We all go through times where the mere thinking of life without our partners will bring tears to our eyes and then we can't stand next to us a week later the sound of their breathing. We were all in there. The trick is to know that you are not going to live for ever in either position. Truth is, you're spending most of your time in an emotional middle ground at a marriage. It's not chirping songbirds, nor does it think which poison can cause the most painful demise in his pasta.
This middle ground is not the couple who sit without discussion in the restaurant across from each other. Probably, those people are flat-lined and just don't know it yet. No, the middle ground is when months meld into years and before you say something, you know what the reaction will be. It's when the book you finished last night just immediately migrates to his side's nightstand and he asks you about the recent episode of "Modern Family" you've been sleeping through. It is the ebb and flow of the day, without the waves.
We strive to make the most of those we love probably because we know they love us, and we can get away with it. It's the old phenomenon of Kick-the-cat. At the workplace, you've had a rough day and you come home and take it out on your mate. A more healthy practice is to start each day by asking yourself, "What can I do to make my partner happy today? "I just say it. Isn't it more prudent for someone you respect to put your best face on? Look for ways to say "yes." This law also applies to parenting because people are busy trying to please one another in a happy marriage. Often, that means sitting through endless ball games, stressing your savings to get your wife who is also the mother of your kids the best gift to put a smile on her beautiful face,
Putting on a hat, watching a horror movie with your eyes closed and driving around old battlefield sites in the Civil War when you just wanted to be on a beach vacation in Hawaii. It does things for your friend.
Maintaining familiarity and passion both indoors and outdoors.
Intimacy is not about sex and love on the kitchen counter is not just about doing it. Along with marriage, the bedroom habits change. There could be no better aphrodisiac than a stroll on the beach with moonlight ending in a kiss. There may be no greater show of passion in a hospital room than a partner's persistence in trying to get the nurse 's attention to an ailing child. For your marriage, don't let others define what is a "normal" or "healthy" amount of sex. Know things are changing but that doesn't make them any less exciting or fun. And intimacy comes in several ways, conversation and cuddling included.